Italian News Headlines 26-09-2023 - Cosa Nostra mafia boss, Messina Denaro, has died of colon cancer at the age of 62. He was being held in a maximum security prison after 30 years on the run. He was responsible for dozens of murders including those of anti-mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino --- Giorgio Napolitano, the only Italian President to be elected twice, has died in Rome at the age of 98 --- Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, met with European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, on the Italian island of Lampedusa to discuss the European refugee crisis after more than 7,000 migrants arrived from Tunisia in a single week --- Venetian authorities vote to introduce 'ticket only' access to the city from 2024 --- A man who posted a video of himself carving his name into the wall of the Colosseum, while his girlfriend watched, has been identified as living in Britain --- Following the death of Silvio Berlusconi, on June 12th, Antonio Tajani will be appointed the new president of Forza Italia --- Silvio Berlusconi, 4 times Italian prime minister, has died at the age of 86 from complications resulting from Leukaemia --- Extreme weather in Emilia-Romagna has led to 14 dead and 35,000 displaced. There are 500 roads closed and over over 300 sites at risk of landslides --- Two new victims of the Vesuvius eruption in 79AD have been discovered during excavations in Pompei

Peperoncino (pl. peperoncini) is a longish, thin chili pepper known as Capiscuum Annuumi or Peperoncino di Cayenna. It is in the middle of the ranges of heat for chilies and is the one that is grown and used in southern Italian cuisine. Hot spicy food is not particularly a favourite with Italians and is not part of the menu for most of the regions... until you travel further south that is.

Somewhere around Naples a few spicy bits and pieces appear on pizzas, or in salami and sausages in the Campania region. By the time you hit Basilicata things begin to hot up with spicy meats, peperoncino sprinkled in some dishes and oil heavily diffused with peperoncino to drizzle on your pasta. And then comes Calabria - the further south in this region you go the hotter the food and the peperoncini become. They lace most things with it, including salami, sausages, oil, grappa, chocolate and gelato.

In the late summer, early autumn most of the houses in southern Calabria will have strings of peperoncino hanging from their houses to dry out and be used in the winter months. This area of southern Italy first started eating peperoncino as it was meant to be a deterrent for malaria carrying mosquitos. Malaria has long since left the region but the love of peperoncino has remained.

Peperoncino has become a bit of an obsession in Calabria and is now believed to be an aphrodisiac, openly being sold as such in many tourist shops in the region. There is even a peperoncino festival in Daimante every September where products are sold, including the now famous 'La Bomba Calabrese 'which is a paste made with olive oil and the hottest of the years peperoncini . This year the dates are the 10th - 14th September.

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